Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 267-300; doi:10.3390/nano4020267 - published online 3 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Graphene is a two dimensional one atom thick allotrope of carbon that displays unusual crystal structure, electronic characteristics, charge transport behavior, optical clarity, physical & mechanical properties, thermal conductivity and much more that is yet to be discovered. Consequently, it has generated unprecedented excitement in the scientific community; and is of great interest to wide ranging industries including semiconductor, optoelectronics and printed electronics. Graphene is considered to be a next-generation conducting material with a remarkable band-gap structure, and has the potential to replace traditional electrode materials in optoelectronic devices. It has also been identified as one of the most promising materials for post-silicon electronics. For many such applications, modulation of the electrical and optical properties, together with tuning the band gap and the resulting work function of zero band gap graphene are critical in achieving the desired properties and outcome. In understanding the importance, a number of strategies including various functionalization, doping and hybridization have recently been identified and explored to successfully alter the work function of graphene. In this review we primarily highlight the different ways of surface modification, which have been used to specifically modify the band gap of graphene and its work function. This article focuses on the most recent perspectives, current trends and gives some indication of future challenges and possibilities.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 256-266; doi:10.3390/nano4020256 - published online 3 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: p-type NiO nanofibers have been synthesized from a simple electrospinning and sintering procedure. For the first time, p-type nanofibers have been electrospun onto a conductive fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO) surface. The properties of the NiO nanofibers have been directly compared to that of bulk NiO nanopowder. We have observed a p-type photocurrent for a NiO photocathode fabricated on an FTO substrate.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 242-255; doi:10.3390/nano4020242 - published online 2 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The use of magnetic nanomaterials for analytical applications has increased in the recent years. In particular, magnetic nanomaterials have shown great potential as adsorbent phase in several extraction procedures due to the significant advantages over the conventional methods. In the present work, the influence of magnetic forces over the extraction efficiency of triazines using superparamagnetic silica nanoparticles (NPs) in magnetic in tube solid phase microextraction (Magnetic-IT-SPME) coupled to CapLC has been evaluated. Atrazine, terbutylazine and simazine has been selected as target analytes. The superparamagnetic silica nanomaterial (SiO2-Fe3O4) deposited onto the surface of a capillary column gave rise to a magnetic extraction phase for IT-SPME that provided a enhancemment of the extraction efficiency for triazines. This improvement is based on two phenomena, the superparamegnetic behavior of Fe3O4 NPs and the diamagnetic repulsions that take place in a microfluidic device such a capillary column. A systematic study of analytes adsorption and desorption was conducted as function of the magnetic field and the relationship with triazines magnetic susceptibility. The positive influence of magnetism on the extraction procedure was demonstrated. The analytical characteristics of the optimized procedure were established and the method was applied to the determination of the target analytes in water samples with satisfactory results. When coupling Magnetic-IT-SPME with CapLC, improved adsorption efficiencies (60%–63%) were achieved compared with conventional adsorption materials (0.8%–3%).
Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 222-241; doi:10.3390/nano4020222 - published online 2 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Magnetic nanoparticles are a highly valuable substrate for the attachment of homogeneous inorganic and organic containing catalysts. This review deals with the very recent main advances in the development of various nanocatalytic systems by the immobilisation of homogeneous catalysts onto magnetic nanoparticles. We discuss magnetic core shell nanostructures (e.g., silica or polymer coated magnetic nanoparticles) as substrates for catalyst immobilisation. Then we consider magnetic nanoparticles bound to inorganic catalytic mesoporous structures as well as metal organic frameworks. Binding of catalytically active small organic molecules and polymers are also reviewed. After that we briefly deliberate on the binding of enzymes to magnetic nanocomposites and the corresponding enzymatic catalysis. Finally, we draw conclusions and present a future outlook for the further development of new catalytic systems which are immobilised onto magnetic nanoparticles.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 203-221; doi:10.3390/nano4020203 - published online 31 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Phytotoxicity is a significant consideration in understanding the potential environmental impact of nanoparticles. Abundant experimental data have shown that multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) are toxic to plants, but the potential impacts of exposure remain unclear. The objective of the present study was to evaluate possible phytotoxicity of MWNTs at 0, 20, 200, 1000, and 2000 mg/L with red spinach, lettuce, rice, cucumber, chili, lady’s finger, and soybean, based on root and shoot growth, cell death, and electrolyte leakage at the seedling stage. After 15 days of hydroponic culture, the root and shoot lengths of red spinach, lettuce, and cucumber were significantly reduced following exposure to 1000 mg/L and 2000 mg/L MWNTs. Similar toxic effects occurred regarding cell death and electrolyte leakage. Red spinach and lettuce were most sensitive to MWNTs, followed by rice and cucumber. Very little or no toxic effects were observed for chili, lady’s finger, and soybean.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(2), 189-202; doi:10.3390/nano4020189 - published online 28 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A new electrochemical method to synthesize mesoporous nanowires of alloys has been developed. Electrochemical deposition in ionic liquid-in-water (IL/W) microemulsion has been successful to grow mesoporous CoPt nanowires in the interior of polycarbonate membranes. The viscosity of the medium was high, but it did not avoid the entrance of the microemulsion in the interior of the membrane’s channels. The structure of the IL/W microemulsions, with droplets of ionic liquid (4 nm average diameter) dispersed in CoPt aqueous solution, defined the structure of the nanowires, with pores of a few nanometers, because CoPt alloy deposited only from the aqueous component of the microemulsion. The electrodeposition in IL/W microemulsion allows obtaining mesoporous structures in which the small pores must correspond to the size of the droplets of the electrolytic aqueous component of the microemulsion. The IL main phase is like a template for the confined electrodeposition. The comparison of the electrocatalytic behaviours towards methanol oxidation of mesoporous and compact CoPt nanowires of the same composition, demonstrated the porosity of the material. For the same material mass, the CoPt mesoporous nanowires present a surface area 16 times greater than compact ones, and comparable to that observed for commercial carbon-supported platinum nanoparticles.